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Meet Joe Black (1998)

Death, who takes the form of a young man, asks a media mogul to act as a guide to teach him about life on Earth, and in the process, he falls in love with his guide's daughter.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 6 more credits »
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3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
...
...
...
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David S. Howard ...
Eddie Sloane
Lois Kelly-Miller ...
Jahnni St. John ...
Jamaican Woman's Daughter
Richard Clarke ...
Butler
...
Lillian
Diane Kagan ...
Jennifer
...
Helen
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...
Florist
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Storyline

Bill Parrish, media tycoon, loving father and still a human being, is about to celebrate his 65th birthday. One morning, he is contacted by the Inevitable - by hallucination, as he thinks. Later, Death itself enters his home and his life, personified in a man's body: Joe Black has arrived. His intention was to take Bill with him, but accidentally, Joe's former host and Bill's beautiful daughter Susan have already met. Joe begins to develop certain interest in life on earth as well as in Susan, who has no clue who she's flirting with. Written by Julian Reischl <julianreischl@mac.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He's Expecting You. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for an accident scene, some sexuality and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

13 November 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

¿Conoces a Joe Black?  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$90,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$15,017,995, 15 November 1998, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$44,619,100

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$142,940,100
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (edited TV)

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Death is standing behind the glass in Bill's library upon their first meeting, the body is obscured. However, when Death stands closer to the window, the outline in the window forms a skull. This is the first indication of who the mysterious person is. See more »

Goofs

At Bill's party - when he is in his office about to confront Drew - before he stands up he takes off his glasses, but in the next shot he is standing and takes off his glasses again. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Construction Foreman: Please. Please. Don't worry. Don't worry.
Allison: It's utter chaos around here. And I'm terrified we're running out of time. Am I trying to be too perfect?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Father Time (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Over The Rainbow/What A Wonderful World
"Over The Rainbow" written by E.Y. Harburg and Harold Arlen
"What A Wonderful World" written by George David Weiss and Bob Thiele
Performed by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
Courtesy of Big Boy Records & The Mountain Apple Company
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User Reviews

 
Reflective And Philosophical
16 January 2005 | by See all my reviews

For a long time I put off watching this, because I have no interest in superficial, teen comedy flicks, as implied by the film's pedestrian title and by the casting of a youthful Brad Pitt. But "Meet Joe Black" is anything but "superficial", and "teen comedy" does not describe this movie at all.

Set in contemporary New York, the film follows a wealthy family whose patriarchal sixty-five year old head, played by Anthony Hopkins, is nearing the end of his life. Enter "Joe Black" (Brad Pitt), a handsome, but enigmatic, young man with an unusual agenda.

This is a thought-provoking movie about mortality and emotional separation. It will appeal to viewers with a reflective and philosophical nature. But the film also has humor, which keeps it from being grim. The pace is slow. There's lots of silence and stillness, entirely appropriate, given the subject matter. Among other things, the film presents the novel idea that a supernatural being can be subject to human emotions, and can make mistakes in judgment resulting from those emotions.

The film is not perfect. The plot is a tad egocentric. There's no reference to the universality and ongoing occurrence of death outside the confines of this family. Also, why now? Why does death choose to engage life in our present world, why not five hundred years ago? Minor script changes could have addressed these issues. The initial meeting between Susan (Claire Forlani) and Joe Black seems a little too convenient, but forms the basis for a plot twist that strengthens the overall story.

The acting is excellent. Anthony Hopkins is, as usual, outstanding. I would not have cast Brad Pitt in the role he plays, but he does a good job. Appropriate for this movie, the acting style for both Pitt and Forlani is one wherein they communicate their characters to viewers largely by means of their eyes, which, as taught by ancient philosophers, are the windows of the soul.

For viewers who liked "The Sixth Sense", another serious film with depth of meaning, I recommend "Meet Joe Black" most highly.


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